Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017: A Retrospective

This is my second year of blogging, and as is increasingly traditional, I wanted to look back over the year, to see what my progress looks like, to see what I thought worked and what didn't, and what the next year has in store for us.

2017 Retrospective

The biggest news of the year was, of course, the birth of my son!  He's 8 months old now, and quite a handful, but he's absolutely adorable and I wouldn't trade him for the world.  Plus I can squarely blame problems with the blog on him!  Which is excellent.

By my count, I published 206 posts over 2017, which is an average of almost 4 posts a week.  Despite slowing down the past few months, I still seem to be at a hectic pace.

My views hit their all-time peak this year around summer, right in the heart of discussing the Alliance, and dropped off rapidly as I talked about Philosophy, both because I suspect it's a rather esoteric topic and because I started posting less.  I still have what I would consider "healthy" numbers.

This year I also started my Patreon with the intent of funding art and, uh, getting paid!  My fanbase isn't large (I currently stand at ~30 patrons), but they're very devoted, and tend to give quite a bit more than the minimum.

I set out this year to complete Psi-Wars as a setting and that was a big fat failure, in the sense that I didn't complete it.  The effort turned out to be more complex than I thought.  Perhaps I made it more complicated than necessary, but as a process, this works well for me. That said, I feel like this design process has focused more on releasing material quickly than really discussing how I did it.  I feel like it offers less to others than the first 5 iterations.  That said, I am pleased with the results!  I've started running a playtest, and it has the sort of richness I personally prefer from a game, and I think the setting contributes to that.  I also didn't finish Iteration 5 as quickly as I thought I would, and, in fact, setting work is complicated stuff if you want to give players more than a superficial look at things.  In fact, I have a lot of readers asking for more material, because the stuff I've offered isn't enough.  The lesson here? You can always have more depth, it's just a matter of how long you want to spend writing.

I've also started Tinker Titan Rebel Spy, my Imperial playtest, to largely positive reviews.  Expect more Actual Play soon.

Happy New Year 2018 

The last couple of years have been very good to me, but I feel like all of my rushing about since my divorce has finally caught up with me and I need to stop and consolidate.  That's true of Psi-Wars as well!

I expect to finish the design phase of Iteration 6 sometime in February or March.  The Cult of the Mystic Tyrant will finish in January, and we'll tackle, at last, True Communion over February and into March.  That finishes Iteration 6, right?

Well, not quite.  First, the setting material is a little unwieldy.  I need to return to it and revise it, trimming out unnecessary things and expanding things that need greater attention.  But more than that, the core material from Iteration 5 and before needs to be revised too.  Most of my material has been offered as Patron Previews, but they include:
  • Revised Communion with additional miracles, greater attention to "ghosts" and new traits
  • Updated Psionics with additional Techniques and updated Anti-Psi
  • Updated technology
  • New Ships and simpler rules
Some of this still needs work, or to be completely rewritten, and I'm going to take some time to work through these.

I've also had interested readers who seem to be lost in Iteration 6.  That's because I'm working hard to build material, but I need to make that material accessible. I find that where the Psi-Wars primer-as-table-of-contents was enough for pre-Iteration 6, people are interested in the setting, but don't know how to get into it.  I need to create a simpler "setting primer" that should make it easier for players to get into, and better organize my material so readers can find what they want.  I do want to leave the original, simpler Iteration 5 material as an option for those who liked that arc: I see that as the true experiment for Psi-Wars, and Iteration 6 as the optional "pre-built setting"

I expect this will take a few months (say, by summer).  After that, we'll start with what I'll call Iteration 7.  The point of Iteration 6 has been to pain the setting in the broadest strokes.  We know what the main factions and ideologies are and how rebels fight.  You can apply these anywhere.   The next stage is to get more specific.  I will look at:
  • Aliens (including the already Patreon-specials Ranathim, Skairos and the Traders as well as the soon-to-be released Keleni)
  • The broad regions of space
  • Region-specific organizations
  • Planets (likely 5 or so per region of space)
Finally, I'm going to make some changes to Patreon.  I like the reward tiers well enough (though if Disciples fills up, I might introduce a $10 tier). No, I'm learning how I want to handle the funding I get.  First, I've started commissioning artwork.  I have a concept artist and now a professional artist who has agreed to draw, and most of my Patreon funding is going to that, but I've also had several readers suggest a wiki, which I might take the time to set up, but might be worth it.

My posting pace will continue at its slow pace.  I've re-evaluated my schedule and I have roughly four hours a week in which I can write, which is very tight. I might have to slow down even further, but we'll see.  I suspect I won't finish everything that I hope to this year, but we'll continue to make progress and if I do finish, well, we'll see where we get next year.

I want to thank everyone who's been supporting me, all of my readers, all of the people who share my links, and especially to my patrons.  You make this sort of thing possible!


Oh right, my Patreon update!  I didn't get to everything I wanted to this month, but that's because one work took far more than I expected.  I have about 15k worth of material on "Broken Communion Ghosts" which will be available to $1+ Patrons (yes, it's Psi-Wars specific, but the material in it will work in a Monster Hunters or Horror game too).   I also have, at last, the Imperial Schism of the Cult of the Mystic Tyrant.  I know I promised that last month, but it didn't work out qua scheduling, and now I can guarantee it'll come out, as I've already scheduled it.  I would like to released the Cult of Death results in January as well, but that still needs to be written.

See you guys next month!

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